Letter: Couple receives ‘ridiculous’ fine from animal control officer

Gilroy has always been our favorite place to stop for a meal and
fuel on a trip from Northern California to various points
south.
Dear Editor,

Gilroy has always been our favorite place to stop for a meal and fuel on a trip from Northern California to various points south. On Wednesday, June 22, we were returning home to Fort Bragg from Morro Bay and stopped in Gilroy, our two small dogs travel with us.

We parked in the shade, let the dogs out for a drink and other things that dogs need to do. We returned them to the car with all four windows rolled down a couple of inches. The outside temperature was 88 and there was a nice breeze from the west. We went into Famous Dave’s for a barbecue sandwich and a cool drink. We had only eaten half our sandwiches when an Animal Control officer came into the restaurant and insisted that my husband go outside with him. He had my husband take the dogs out of the car and give them water (which they did not drink). He took my husband’s driver’s license. He then issued a ticket with a fine of $100. He said someone had called in a complaint.

On one unknown person’s complaint, we were assumed guilty and fined. We are responsible dog owners and would never endanger our pets! If child abuse is reported, the parents are not imprisoned or the child immediately removed from the home. A thorough investigation of the complaint and the living situation is made. The officer could see from the address that we were from another city and we were just traveling through. He did not do a proper assessment of the situation. He did not ask how long we had left the dogs in the car. The car was in the shade with windows down and the dogs were fine – as he could see. Other people parked near us, asked my husband if the officer had given him a ticket. When he said yes, they said, “That’s ridiculous!”

Later, when we stopped for gasoline, my husband discovered that he did not have his driver’s license. He phoned the Gilroy Police Department the next day. Of course, the officer said that he had returned the license and that my husband must have dropped it or lost it.

Gilroy will be a safer place now that two people in their late 70s, with two small dogs are no longer endangering the community! We will really miss being able to stop and enjoy your good restaurants.

Claudelle Zack and Charles Viggers, Fort Bragg

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